I’m starting to make a few changes here on my blog. I bought my domain name for starters. Now it’s simply StefaniLara.com. I think it has a nice ring to it. I also updated my tagline to The Girl Within from A girl in Disguise. I never liked the latter much, and I think the new tagline captures my current experience.
Here’s what’s going on. I feel this transformation is starting to take over. I’m compelled to come out. I’ve grown tired of all this secrecy. I know that I’m the one keeping the secret, and it’s one that’s not easy to discard. I’ve lived this lie for almost all of my forty years. I’ve grown accustomed to the mask I wear on a daily basis. Sometimes I’ve forgotten which mask I’m wearing, my true face, or that of my daily persona, Joe.
That’s right, kids! My name is Joe. Legally it’s Jose, but Let’s not quibble over technicalities. It’s a moniker that I wear daily, one that fits because I’ve worn it since the day I was born. Stefani came about when I first revealed this part of me to my then girlfriend, now my best friend, back in college. She asked me what my girl name was. I didn’t have an answer. I thought about it, and the name Stefani came to mind because there was a Tejano singer named Stefani Montiel. I have no idea where my adopted surname came in.
Were I to undergo a transition, I may keep my surname, which I’ll continue to keep secret for the time being, and use Lara as a middle name. It also feels right to me. It fits because I have had it for nearly twenty years.
This isn’t my first attempt at an online presence, either. Long ago, way before social media was really a thing, a website call GeoCities existed, where one could create webpages for free, so I did. I had to actually write the HTML code for the webpage, and I had a blast doing it. I also had to create all the images such as the title banner, which was the very original Stefani Lara. I’m nothing if not inventive.
Which brings me to today. I’m sitting here, in my drab wear, wishing I could dress up and be free. My spending on clothes has gotten out of control. I bought a pair of boots on Saturday when I should have been buying Joe some shoes. I then spent nearly $50 on panties alone! It’s not like I really need them. I dress up maybe once a week, if I’m lucky.
And that leads me to this conclusion. I’m wanting to out myself. I’m slowly telling people, and I’m setting myself up to be discovered by others. I want to open that dialogue, but it’s not easy. I want to be true to myself, but Joe is a very real person to them. While those I have told have been great about it, a time will come when someone will reject me, and that’s okay.
The truth is not easy. I have spent years, decades, trying to deny it of myself. Acceptance of ones self is the hardest acceptance to earn. I struggled and fought against it for years, though I knew in my heart who and what I was. Only recently have I begun to work out that who I am is not the man in the mirror I wake up to every morning. It’s the woman I transform into when I have a chance.
I no longer consider myself a crossdresser. When I have the conversation, I tell them that I identify as transgender. I’m a woman pretending to be a man, not vice versa. I know the arguments of gender and biology, that biologically I was born a man, but in my mind I’m not. In heart I’m not. In my soul I’m not. I’m not in unity with myself, and that’s a hard thing to deal with for so long. I lost a lot of years being depressed, though not clinically, because I wouldn’t deal with the truth.
So I’m making changes with my online presence. It’s not much, but changes sometimes comes slowly, building until there’s a build up and then a sudden release. I know I’m building up to something. I pray that it’s a good thing, scared that it may be a bad experience, but ever hopeful that I will come out stronger and happier than I have ever been.